O’Keeffe claims narrow TCR pole at The Bend
By Mat Coch
Saturday 16th November, 2019 - 11:20am
Dylan O’Keeffe became the first driver to claim multiple TCR Australia pole positions following qualifying at The Bend Motorsport Park.
O’Keeffe’s lap aboard the Alfa Romeo Guilietta was 0.08s faster than Will Brown (Hyundai i30 TCR) as the top four drivers set times inside the 1:55 bracket.
Brown set the early pace with a 1:57.4362, half a second off the pace set by Aaron Cameron in practice on Friday.
However, the champion-elect’s time was quickly bettered by Cameron, with Tony D’Alberto (Honda Civic Type R TCR) slotting in between the pair in second.
James Moffat’s session came to an early end when he parked on the exit of Turn 12 with suspected drive shaft failure.
As the GRM driver climbed out his team-mate Chris Pither (Renault Megane RS TCR) had an off at Turn 10, spinning through the weeds and coming to a rest by Turn 11.
Pither had been half a second faster to the first split than Brown, who had returned to the top of the timing sheets with a 1:56.1804.
Cameron improved to a 1:56.3860 to improve on his own personal best with O’Keeffe moving to third with a 1:56.4908.
Brown then lowered the benchmark even further to bank a 1:55.7022, D’Alberto also dipping below 1:56 to record a 1:55.9738.
With seven minutes to run Tim Brook climbed from the Cupra while holding down 11th, doing so just as O’Keeffe shot to the top of the timings screens with a 1:56.6206 effort.
That lap would ultimately net O’Keeffe pole over Brown, D’Alberto, Cameron, and Nathan Morcom in fifth.
A number of drivers found the going tough, with Iain McDougall (Audi RS 3 TCR) having a spin as the session got going, while John Martin also ran off around the triple right handers in the middle part of the lap.
Alexandra Whitley (Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR) and James Allen (Alfa Romeo Guilietta TCR) also spun, the former at Turn 14 and Allen at Turn 13 in the latter part of the session.
In the dying moments of the session Pither had a second off, this time at Turn 12, consigning him to 11th place on the grid as he was unable to get back to the line before the flag fell to complete another lap.
The opening TCR Australia Series race of the weekend is scheduled to begin at 1245 local time.
|1||9||Ashley Seward Motorsport||Dylan O’Keeffe (Vic)||Alfa Romeo Giulietta||1:55.6206|
|2||30||HMO Customer Racing||Will Brown (Qld)||Hyundai I30N||1:55.7022|
|3||50||Wall Racing||Tony D’Alberto (Vic)||Honda Civic Type R||1:55.8574|
|4||2||Melbourne Performance Centre||Aaron Cameron (Vic)||Volkswagen Golf GTI||1:55.9765|
|5||11||HMO Customer Racing||Nathan Morcom (NSW)||Hyundai I30N||1:56.0975|
|6||777||Kelly Racing||Andre Heimgartner (NZ)||Opel Astra||1:56.4925|
|7||33||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Chris Pither (NZ)||Renault Megane RS||1:56.7122|
|8||7||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Jordan Cox (NSW)||Alfa Romeo Giulietta||1:56.7606|
|9||24||Wall Racing||John Martin (NSW)||Honda Civic Type R||1:57.0799|
|10||3||Melbourne Performance Centre||Iain McDougall (Vic)||Audi RS 3||1:57.1208|
|11||8||Taskforce / Melb.Perf.Centre||Jason Bright (Vic)||Volkswagen Golf GTI||1:57.1683|
|12||97||Melbourne Performance Centre||Liam McAdam (Qld)||Audi RS 3||1:57.3439|
|13||64||Garage 1||Tim Brook (NSW)||Cupra SEAT Leon||1:57.4500|
|14||10||Ashley Seward Motorsport||James Allen (Vic)||Alfa Romeo Giulietta||1:57.5452|
|15||100||Melbourne Performance Centre||Russell Ingall (Qld)||Audi RS 3||1:57.6149|
|16||62||Kelly Racing||Chelsea Angelo (Vic)||Opel Astra||1:57.6683|
|17||35||Melbourne Performance Centre||Alexandra Whitley (Qld)||Volkswagen Golf GTI||1:58.2228|
|18||27||Milldun Motorsport||Barton Mawer (NSW)||Subaru WRX STi||1:58.8108|
|19||19||Milldun Motorsport||Matthew Simmons (Qld)||Subaru WRX STi||1:59.3812|
|20||34||Garry Rogers Motorsport||James Moffat (Vic)||Renault Megane RS||1:59.8698|